It's a Woman's Prerogative to: DO-IT-YOURSELF, LEARN-IT-YOURSELF

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How do you define Dana?

Dana by definition (laughing)... This sounds like a meditation question, "Who am I?" She's enigmatic to some. She wears her 'Leo rising' well. She's a little extra, very caring, striking, down to earth, kind--never weak, and low-key funny.

What do you want people to know about you?

This seemed to be the hardest question for me to answer. I would want people to know that I was born, and raised [and reside now] in Connecticut. That my undergraduate education took place at HBCU Clark Atlanta University, and have lived much of my adult life in New York—mostly working in advertising.

People might want to know that I’m 48, never married, happily single, no children—(yet everybody’s favorite auntie) and thrilled about it.

I sometimes cheat on my plant-based/vegetarian diet. 

The things that excite and move me are music, fashion, interiors and beauty.

I’ve spent the last 2 years studying the clean beauty industry/”movement” in an effort to figure out how to share the benefits of such a regimen with the masses.

I’m very much a do-it-yourself, and learn-it-yourself kind of person. A good portion of my life is lived this way. And I’m not referencing YouTube videos. I’m talking ‘figure it out’—life by trial and error—learn from your mistakes (again and again and again) in work, communications, relationships, etc.

I’m very much a do-it-yourself, and learn-it-yourself kind of person. A good portion of my life is lived this way. And I’m not referencing YouTube videos. I’m talking ‘figure it out’—life by trial and error—learn from your mistakes (again and again and again) in work, communications, relationships, etc.

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How did you get into the music industry?

I have always visualized being a DJ. Someone who sets the atmosphere with sound. A great 'selector' if nothing else. I thought it was important if you will, and very cool to boot. The same way someone does so through decor. I began making mixes and simply sharing them with friends, and playing them at parties. I also played music consultant for venues (new restaurants, etc.). I thought that was my sweet spot--but it wasn't enough. I used to spin vinyl in a few spots in NYC years ago via some colleagues. I used to shop at Traxsource.


How have things changed from when you first started to today?

Today everything is a download (if you're not a collector), and everyone uses the Serato application to an extent to manage, organize, create and play music. Your music now resides on your laptop, tablet or USB.

Who are some of your musical influences?

My fave voices include Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Teena Marie, & Patti Labelle. My fave MCs include Black Thought, Rakim, and Jay-Z among others. DJ's that do it for me: Gilles Peterson, Jazzy Jeff, and Natasha Diggs.

What inspires you when creating new music?

Oooooh, I love this. New sounds--new music that moves me. Hardly ever a 'sound of the moment'-- as long as it’s soulful, and a little unexpected--Like myself!

New sounds--new music that moves me. Hardly ever a 'sound of the moment'-- as long as it’s soulful, and a little unexpected--Like myself!

What is your creative process like when putting new mixes together?

(sigh) More often than not, its long. Just like any creative process. (Though I don't consider myself a creative really). You work on it. Pick it up. Put it down. Come back to it when the motivation hits you. Otherwise you're forcing the process. For me, it's an intro--how do I want to set the tone?, What's the 1st track? It's very much a storytelling process--that I hope people will listen to through the end... Like chapters that need to make sense-- songs or tracks need to meld into one another--until they don't. And just like any author or painter, just like that, you'll instinctively know when you're finished. When another page, brush stroke, or song will take away from what you've put together.

It's very much a storytelling process--that I hope people will listen to through the end... Like chapters that need to make sense-- songs or tracks need to meld into one another--until they don't. And just like any author or painter, just like that, you'll instinctively know when you're finished.

How do you create a work-life balance?

Right now, I'm solely responsible for my time. I don't have an office which I need to be present for daily--which is not at all to say I’m not responsible for getting work done or meeting deadlines. My calendars are my best friend. A #1 priority is getting in "me time", so community yoga, or my fave dance class stay as recurring in my calendar weekly. Next is accounting for "getting ready" time, any travel, etc. I schedule for 9 hours sleep/down/me time-- ha! Is doesn't work out that way often. And with what's left of the day, that's when I work, I focus, I practice.


What is something you wish you knew coming into the industry?

Any learning curve I've had has probably been a bit longer for me than some. Given when I started in my life, and if I’m honest, I hate asking people for help sometimes (I'm working that out in therapy :) ) Like I said, I'm a do it yourself sort of person. I did not forsee the amount of trial and error involved.

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In terms of your career in fashion, how have you been able to adjust over the years as the industry shifts to be more centered around social media?

I've adjusted just fine. I've been involved in most fashion weeks for the past few years. It’s as if when I turned 40, the phone started to ring again! I go in with no expectation--and end up with the biggest surprises! As for social media, I'd always heard that people are cast through the medium. But then it happened to me! I recently booked a shoot to be out in the Fall Fashion issue of a renowned magazine later this August!


It’s as if when I turned 40, the phone started to ring again!


In an industry renowned for its lack of diversity and cut-throat environment how do you stay motivated?

While I still think this industry has a lot to get right in terms of diversity--I've also never felt more like it’s our time. The amount of creativity, beauty, sizes, and just all walks of life being represented and shown as stylish and acceptable isn't something I thought I’d ever see. It's inspiring and exciting for sure!


Be sure to head over to www.thatdanagame.com for more soulful tracks and to book Dana for your next party!



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